Paper pinwheels are surprisingly easy to make and can give children an immense amount of joy. This simple project offers a wonderful blank canvas for your child to express himself or herself with color and originality, and requires a little adult supervision for cutting and attaching the pinwheel to a stick.
Ready to get started? Here’s how to make a paper pinwheel that can spin and spin and spin:
- Square sheet of medium weight, quality paper, 7-inch x 7-inch
- Safety scissors
- Materials for decorating the paper, such as paint, markers, or crayons
- A wooden dowel about 3/4” in diameter and 12” long, available at most hardware, home improvement, and craft stores. You can substitute a drinking straw or unsharpened pencil for the dowel.
- Small hammer
- Pin of a picture hook, or push pin, or fastener
- Small bead
1. Place the 7-inch x 7-inch paper on a flat surface. Using the ruler and a pencil, lightly draw a straight line to connect each diagonal corner, resulting in a large “X” dividing the paper into four small, equal triangles. Flip the paper over and do the same on the reverse side.
2. Now it’s time for your child to be creative! Have your child decorate each of the triangles formed by the pencil marks. Here’s a tip: To make the pinwheel more interesting, decorate each of side of the paper differently. Both the front and back of the paper will be visible in the final pinwheel. If your child uses glitter or glue, be sure to allow the decorated paper to dry thoroughly before continuing onto the next step.
3. Because the small triangles may be barely visible after the decorating, use the ruler and pencil to redraw the “X” that you originally made. However, draw lightly, so that the pencil lines do not distract from the decoration.
4. Starting at one corner of the decorated paper, use the safety scissors to cut along the pencil line toward the center, where the two diagonal lines cross. Stop cutting at about 1/2 inch from the center point. Repeat for the remaining three corners.
5. To form the pinwheel, gently pull a corner point toward the center point of the paper. DO NOT crease the paper. Pinch two fingers together on the center point, to hold the pinwheel section in place. Do the same with alternating corners.
6. When all four corners of the paper have been pulled to the center of the pinwheel, gently push a pin or fastener through the center and all four corners, to secure them in place.
7. Carefully lifting the assembled pinwheel, push the pointed end of the pin or fastener into the top side of the dowel. Secure the opposite end of the pin with a small bead and drop of glue. Make sure that the pin or fastener is slightly loose, so that the pinwheel can spin freely.
8. After the glue has dried, you’re ready to have some pinwheel fun. Find a breeze and watch the colors fly as your pinwheel spins and spins!